US in dialogue on visa fee hikeAugust 12th, 2010 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 12 (IANS) Amid growing voices against a “discriminatory” US legislation to hike visa fees for highly skilled professionals, Washington began a dialogue with lawmakers, business and within the government on the issue.
“This is an issue that we’ve had conversations with leaders on the Hill about,” State Department spokesman Phillip J Crowley told reporters Wednesday when asked to comment on similar bills passed by both chambers of Congress.
“We’ve also had conversations across the government and we are listening to the concerns that business leaders have indicated and will be continuing our dialogue on this issue,” he said without indicating the Obama administration’s own take on the legislation.
Corporate America has slammed the bill to raise $600 million to secure the US-Mexico border with a steep hike in H-1B and L-1 visas fees for companies with less than half American employees, saying it would undermine burgeoning economic and strategic ties between the two countries.
“This legislation seeks to raise revenue for broader border security by taxing mostly Indian companies that are investing heavily in our country,” said US-India Business Council (USIBC) President Ron Somers.
The “discriminatory” bill against foreign companies would undermine investment relations with India as it would largely hurt Indian IT professionals coming to the US on H-1B and L-1 visas, Somers noted.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama continued his campaign against outsourcing as he signed into law an act that reduces or suspends tariffs paid by American companies on certain imports needed to manufacture their products.
“We will rebuild this economy stronger than before and at its heart will be three powerful words: ‘Made in America,’” he said at the White House signing ceremony for the Manufacturing Enhancement Act.
American manufacturing was badly hurt by the economic recession, but had been in decline before then, Obama said noting, “Companies learned to do more with less, and outsourced whatever they could.”
“Our economy has fallen into the habit of buying from overseas,” he said, noting a 33 percent drop in the US manufacturing workforce in recent decades. “It is vitally important that we reverse that trend.”
Steps like the bill he signed Wednesday will help US companies build competitive products for sale in foreign markets and allow the nation to meet his inauguration goal of doubling exports within five years, Obama said.
“When the playing field is even, American workers can compete with anybody,” he added.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Corporate America slams US move to tax Indian firms - Aug 11, 2010
- US Congress sends visa fee hike bill to Obama amid Indian protests (Lead) - Aug 13, 2010
- Amid Indian protests, US House okays bill to hike visa fees - Aug 11, 2010
- We'll work with India to implement new visa law: US (Lead) - Aug 17, 2010
- US hopes visa law will not hurt India ties - Aug 14, 2010
- Obama seals visa fee hike law despite Indian concerns (Lead) - Aug 13, 2010
- Hiked US worker visa fees come into effect - Aug 20, 2010
- Ignoring Indian concerns, Obama set to sign visa fee hike bill - Aug 13, 2010
- US working closely with India to implement visa hike - Aug 17, 2010
- US trying to understand visa fee hike impact on Indian firms - Aug 31, 2010
- Ohio bans outsourcing of government projects - Sep 08, 2010
- Indian IT industry to oppose US bill on visa fee hike - Aug 13, 2010
- US hopes visa hike would not hurt India business ties - Aug 18, 2010
- India to take US visa complaint to WTO - May 09, 2012
- India raises concern over US move to hike visa fees - Aug 10, 2010
Tags: arun kumar, barack obama, border security, business council, business leaders, corporate america, economic recession, india business, investment relations, powerful words, president ron, relations with india, signing ceremony, skilled professionals, state department spokesman, steep hike, us mexico border, usibc, visa fee hike, visa fees